Palforzia is the only FDA approved treatment for peanut allergy and is approved for patients ages 4 through 17. It is a prescription medication derived from peanuts, and is used to minimize the risk of severe allergic reaction in the event of an accidental peanut exposure.
In the summer of 2020, Palforzia became available for use by allergy experts. AA&A, having been involved in the clinical research that helped develop the product, immediately began our oral immunotherapy program treating eligible patients with Palforzia. Our first group of patients has successfully made their way through the therapy and reached ‘maintenance dosage’. We continue to be excited about this treatment and the extra layer of protection it affords our pediatric peanut allergy patients and their families!
We recently spoke with 16-year-old Kendyll about her journey from diagnosis to a new treatment and her newfound piece of mind.
Q: When were you first diagnosed with peanut allergy? Tell us about your first reaction?
A: I was first diagnosed with peanut allergy at the age of one. My mom fed me English peas, and I began sneezing and developed welts all over my face. Because of that, I got an allergy test and the doctor discovered I was allergic to wheat, soy, dairy, eggs, and peanuts/tree nuts. I eventually grew out of all of the allergies except peanuts/tree nuts.
Q: How has your peanut allergy impacted you and your family?
A: My allergy limits what I eat in restaurants. I can’t go to bakeries and order food without the fear of cross contamination. It’s hard to go to parties or cookouts, because I don’t know where and how the food was prepared. When I was younger, I would have to make my own cupcakes and bring them with me to birthday parties. The silver lining is my allergy has given me the opportunity to explore baking on my own due to not being able to eat elsewhere.
Q: What have been the most frightening aspects of your peanut allergy?
A:The most frightening aspect of my allergy is constantly living in fear of accidentally ingesting nuts. Sometimes going to new restaurants can be scary because I’m not sure where the food has been prepared and processed. It can also be disappointing when I want to order something, and I discover I can’t have it.
Q: What were your initial thoughts about beginning oral immunotherapy for your peanut allergy?
A: Excitement and fear. I was excited, because of the potential freedom I would have going out to restaurants. I was afraid because I had never ingested peanuts before, and I didn’t know how my body would react.
Q: Now that you have reached maintenance dose, has your day-to-day routine changed? How has your attitude toward your allergy changed?
A: During the beginning stages of my treatment, my daily routine centered around Palforzia. I had to rearrange activities and plan for when I took my Palforzia. I now feel a little more freedom when it comes to visiting restaurants. I look forward to going to bakeries without the fear of accidentally ingesting peanuts.
Q: Looking back over your journey, would you recommend this treatment to others with a serious peanut allergy? Do you have any suggestions for others starting this treatment?
A: I would definitely recommend this treatment to others with peanut allergies. It was a great learning experience, and it can help you have a little more freedom when it comes to eating food. I suggest when taking Palforzia you discover and experiment with different foods that the treatment can be mixed with. I started with yogurt and quickly got tired of it, so I switched to pudding and applesauce. I also found chocolate ice cream works really well! On days when the schedule and planning gets hard, continue to push through, because the outcome can be worth it.
For more information on Palforzia, click here>